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Archive for January, 2013

Can you name the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World?   Probably not. I am a history major and I can remember a couple of them but all but one have been destroyed mostly by earthquakes.
The one you can probably remember still exists today and that is the Pyramids of Giza.
The other wonders are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (600BC), the Statue of Zeus at Olympia (435 BC), the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (351BC), the Colossus of Rhodes (292-280BC), the Lighthouse of Alexandria (280BC), and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (550BC & 323 BC).
In my last article I talked in depth of these wonders.  If you want to read about them, refer to that.  This article will be about the “new” 7 Wonders of the Modern World.  The reason I decided to write about this, is I recently came across some research for my new book. Some of my book takes place in the Yucatan Peninsula and the ruins at Chichen Itza in Mexico is considered one of the Modern Wonders.  When I saw it was one of the “new” 7 Wonders, I knew I had to see how the list got started and what was included on it.
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As to the new 7 Wonders, the whole idea for a new list was started in 2001 with the start of a new 7 Wonders Foundation based in Zurich, Switzerland.   Obviously it was a popularity poll and the foundation claimed no public funding was involved.  Only private donations kept them going.  More than one hundred million votes were cast over the phone or by the internet.  Since nothing prevented multiple votes, some countries probably told their citizens to keep voting and so naturally it could be argued that this was a very unscientific poll (hopefully no dead people voted!!!!).
But, for what it’s worth, official or unofficial, we now have a list of the New 7 Wonders of the World.  There is no particular order to the Wonders.  The New 7 Wonders Foundation designated the Pyramids of Giza as the only remaining of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World and made the site an Honorary New 7 Wonders.  This took the Pyramids out of the voting which made Egyptians upset but to me, this gave another site a chance to get on the list.  Do you agree or disagree with this list?  They also added another 13 Wonders who were finalists and I will list those at the end. I think, no matter what, any one of these places is worth a visit if you are able.
1.     Chichen Itza, Yucantan Peninsula, Mexico
              This temple was the focal point of one of the largest of the ancient Mayan cities. Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico.  Although you can no longer climb to the top, due to a tourist death, the whole area is amazing to visit.
2.     Christ Redeemer, Brasil
                This statue of Christ if the 5thlargest statue of Christ in the world and a symbol of Rio de Janeiro’s Catholic roots.
3.     Colosseum, Rome, Italy
            This is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering. Construction started  in 72 AD and completed  in 80 AD.  It could seat 50,000 spectators for gladiatorial contests, public spectacles, and dramas.
4.     Taj Mahal, India
           This was built in 1631 by the emperor, Shah Jahan, who was grief stricken when his 3rdwife died giving birth to their 14th child.  It was a symbol to
their everlasting love.
5.     Great Wall of China
             Did you know besides the Great Wall & Pyramids of Giza, the only other man-made area visible from space is the Bingham Copper Mine near Salt
Lake City?  As early as 700BC walls were being built in China to keep intruders out along their borders.  Eventually it became one big wall and has been maintained ever since.
               A lady on one of my tours was at the Wall and it was raining.  Half of the people didn’t get off the bus.   She turned to them and said, “And, when will
you ever be at the Great Wall of China again?”  And with that announcement she began her climb.
6.     Petra, Jordan
              Petra means stone and is famous for its rock cut architecture and water system. Established as early as 312 BC this is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited tourist attraction.
7.     Machu Picchu, Peru
             This city was believed to have been built as an estate for an Inca emperor, Pachacuit.  It is often referred to and familiar as an icon for the Inca world. Although locals knew of its existence, it was not known to the world until 1911.
And, the runner ups are……
                            You can always look these places up if you are interested:
1. Alhambra (12th Cent.) Granada, Spain 2. Angkor (12th Cent.) Cambodia   3. Kiyomizu Temple (749-1855) Kyoto, Japan  4. Neuschwanstein Castle (1869-1884) Schwangau, Germany  5. Statues of Easter Island (10-16th Cent.) Easter Island, Chili 6. Stonehenge (3000B.C.-1600B.C.) Amesbury, United Kingdom 7. Sydney Opera House (1954-73) Sydney, Australia 8. The Acropolis of Athens (450-330B.C.) Athens, Greece 9.The Eiffel Tower (1887-89) Paris, France 10. The Hagia Sophia (532-537) Istanbul, Turkey 11. The Kremlin and Red Square (1156-1850) Moscow, Russia  12. The Statue of Liberty (1886) New York City, U.S.A. 13. Timbuktu (12th Cent.) Mali
                       And now the choice is yours: agree or disagree—visit or not!
And, one final note–Jacques Cousteau named the 7 Wonders of the Undersea World.  If they are of interest to you, check it out online.

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Can you name the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World?   Probably not. I am a history major and I can remember a couple of them but all but one have been destroyed mostly by earthquakes.
 The one you can probably remember still exists today and that is the Pyramids of Giza. I took a Mediterrean cruise that hit the high spots…Barcelona, Spain, Rome, Athens, Ephesus in Turkey, and 2 nights in Alexandria so we could go to Cairo. I have mentioned before that I love cruising because I unpack once but keep moving.
I know you could easily spend a week or more in each area I went to but when you haven’t been overseas a lot, to me, a smattering is better than nothing.  Being able to see the Pyramids of Giza up close along with the Sphinx is a totally awesome sight, especially considering they have been around since 2584–2561 BC.  The problem is visiting Egypt right now can be pretty dicey.
 The other wonders which are all gone now were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (600BC), the Statue of Zeus at Olympia (435 BC), the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (351BC), the Colossus of Rhodes (292-280BC), the Lighthouse of Alexandria (280BC), and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (550BC & 323 BC).
 If you are interested you can read up on these wonders.  Someday there will be more to see in Alexandria.  They have found Cleopatra’s temple underwater at Alexandria and are doing excavations there in the harbor.  In fact there was a Cleopatra exhibit that was touring museums in the US this last year to help raise money for the excavation and I went to the one in Milwaukee, WI.
Also on my cruise I went to Ephesus and I have to say I  really like Turkey.  I want to see more  of that country.  The people there were  friendly and very welcoming to the tourists.   My friend has been to Pompeii and she said the ruins there are  fabulous but she told me Ephesus was right up there.  I am sure the Temple of Artemis was a sight  to behold after seeing what I did.   And, did you know the Blessed Virgin Mary supposedly spent the last  years of her life in a place not too far from the ruins.  It is amazing to think in those ancient  times, people would get in a boat and cross the Sea or climb over mountains  to get someplace.
The ancient Greeks loved making  lists and it isn’t surprising that many of the wonders reflected Greek  culture.  Of all the lists made 6 of  the wonders were agreed upon.  There  was a debate on the 7th with some other places being recognized,  but it was the Lighthouse of Alexandria that made the final cut, as we know  it.
 While the pyramids were built centuries  before the rest and are still with us, most of the others only lasted a few  hundred years or even less with the Colossus of Rhodes being destroyed by an  earthquake after only about fifty years.
Of course, the Great Wall of China and  Stonehenge, to name a couple others, also existed but the ancient Greeks did  not travel to these places so had no inkling of their existence.

The reason I decided to write about this, is  I recently came across some research for my new book about the “new” list of  the 7 Wonders of the Modern World.   Some of my book takes place in the Yucatan Peninsula and the ruins at  Chichen Itza in Mexico is considered one of the Modern Wonders.
My next article will focus  on the Modern Wonders because you may want to think about visiting them.  Or perhaps you already have.  And a little background on the Ancient  Wonders never hurts.

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